Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Friday Night Lights, "The Son": Here lies a funny, funny man

Spoilers for tonight's "Friday Night Lights" coming up just as soon as I reminisce about three years ago...
"Stuff happens. Right now, it's happening to me. Someday, it's going to happen to you." -Matt
A lot of stuff happens to the characters on "Friday Night Lights," but then, a lot happens to the characters on every TV drama. What separates "FNL" from the pack, what makes us care deeply about it whether we know or care about Texas high school football, is the rawness with which the show has its characters deal with all the stuff, good and bad, that happens to them.

Most dramas, even the really good ones, will take you so close to the characters' emotions and no closer, as if they fear the audience will grow uncomfortable if there isn't some distance between themselves and the characters. (Based on the show's microscopic ratings, those other shows are probably, sadly, correct.) But the improvisational, documentary-style aesthetic that Peter Berg created in the film and the series pilot, and that Jason Katims, Jeffrey Reiner and company have continued over the last three-plus seasons, shatters any kind of barrier between viewer and viewee. The actors are encouraged to let everything hang out, to let us feel the fear that Tami might be feeling as she has the sex talk with her daughter, the anticipation and joy that Smash has when he gets the call from Texas A&M, the heartsickness that Eric feels when he tends to his shell-shocked troops at halftime of the Lions' first game.

Most of the actors on the show are great at this (it's no doubt part of why they were cast), but few are better at it than Zach Gilford, who owns every minute of his greatest spotlight to date.

Every character on "Friday Night Lights" gets a raw deal in some ways - this very episode reminds us of that with the stories about Vince and Becky and Luke - but Matt Saracen has consistently been the universe's punching bag, in part because the writers recognize how well Gilford plays Matt's pain and confusion every time life comes in to mock him again.

The physicality of his performance throughout this episode is exceptional: the catch in Matt's voice when he says the words "delivers pizza" while describing his life to date; his snot-filled, jittery demeanor outside the Taylor house; and, especially, the complete abject horror in his eyes (and the way his throat seems to flare out with his eyes) as he stares at his father's wrecked corpse inside the coffin. In that moment, I was there, you know? Just incredible work, and whatever reservations I had about the writers keeping Gilford around this year were entirely dispelled by this knockout episode.

As Matt struggled to come to grips with the death of the father he never really knew, "The Son" wasn't all tragedy and depression. For all the bad things Matt has suffered in his life, for all that his family was never really there for him, he lucked into a perfect second family with the Taylors, who all(*) stand up to be counted during Matt's hour of need. Tami takes care of the funeral director, Julie provides a shoulder to cry on when needed (and doesn't smother Matt when he needs his space), and Eric is there to walk Matt home in his biggest moment of despair. A lot of shows might have tried to have Eric give Matt a big pep talk, or even to spell out that Matt could always count on him, but the writers here were wise to recognize that nothing Eric could say would have made things even a hair better for Matt right now, and that actions would be more powerful than words.

(*) Well, maybe not Gracie, but lay off her, okay? She's still learning to talk!

In the end, Matt makes peace with his father's absence in his life, and the difference between the man he barely knew and the picture that the Army painted of Henry, with a really lovely eulogy. I don't know how much of that speech was Matt being sincere and how much was Matt doing what Matt does - swallowing his pain for the sake of good manners - but he already said the worst things about his father to the Taylors and the guys on the football field, and it seemed useful for him to remember the good times, too, and to realize that maybe Henry really was funny. (And speaking from personal experience - albeit one that didn't leave my hands raw and bloody the way Matt's were - shoveling the dirt yourself at a loved one's funeral is incredibly cathartic.)

Matt's still going away soon, but an episode like "The Son" is a powerful, powerful reminder of how much the show will miss him when he's gone.

Some other thoughts:

• Matt's story was the focus, but it didn't dominate the show, as we got to check in on Vince and Becky and Luke. However, because Matt gets so much screen time, the other plots didn't always move gracefully (there needed to be a transition scene, I think, in between Vince finding out the lights are off and Vince and Angry Necklace Guy getting a car theft tutorial), but this was probably the season's best balance between moving lots of stories forward while still providing the show's trademark emotional wallop.

• Eric is a good father figure to Matt, but he's also a great father to Julie, and it felt exactly right that he would recognize she was worried about losing him without her having to spell it out. Some things, dads just know.

• Before the season, the producers were very clear that Adrianne Palicki wouldn't be turning up until season 5, but they were vaguer about Minka Kelly, and now we know why: so Lyla's appearance at Henry's funeral would be a big surprise. Her presence felt a bit odd to me, though. On the one hand, having Lyla come back from Vanderbilt for the service illustrates how seriously the community responds to a loss like this. On the other, Lyla has no real relationship with Matt - I'm not even sure I can think of any meaningful on-camera interaction the two characters had over the last three seasons - and so I'd rather it turn out that Lyla was back in town anyway and decided to go to the funeral because it was the right thing to do. Presumably, there's more planned for her with Riggins (who shared a nice, knowing, sad look with her at the end of the service) and/or Buddy.

• While one alum came back, another was mentioned but not really seen, as Eric has a Texas A&M game on while he's reading to Gracie, and we learn that while Smash is still coming off the bench (a realistic touch, given the stature of the program and his own entry into it as a walk-on last year), he's at least impressing in garbage time of blowouts and has a promising future ahead of him.

• It's still fascinating to see Eric deal with a mostly hopeless team instead of his Panthers juggernauts. He doesn't want his players to call their own plays, but he can't let himself get too mad when the inevitable wildcat play works, and he allows them to enjoy their moral victory in the locker room afterwards by telling them they have nothing to be ashamed of. A program much further along can only concern itself with actual wins and losses, but right now Eric has to build the confidence of these kids, to make them believe they're not hopeless, and the end of that game was a start.

• I'd like there to be more consistency with the Landry/Lance thing. Either Eric knows his real name by now, or he doesn't. In theory, they could turn the joke into something a bit deeper by having Eric call him Lance when he's annoyed with him in practice, or just in a light moment, and shift to Landry when things are more serious. But to call him Lance while asking him to say a prayer for his best friend's dead father was a distraction.

• Speaking of Landry's name, I'm not sure if it was an intentional running joke or not, but I was amused that the episode featured Landry and Julie arguing over what his nickname should be ("Twinkle-Toes" vs. "Golden Foot") as well as Billy trying to retroactively dub Matt "Mayday."

• I thought the writing of JD McCoy was much better than in his first appearances this season. He's still a jerk and a bully, but he's a more realistic, nuanced jerk in the way his friendly teasing of Luke turned ugly when Luke refused to forgive JD. And I liked how good he was at talking to the pancake breakfast kids (particularly in contrast to Vince, who was not well-coached by Eric in this circumstance), because of course Joe McCoy would have programmed his little robot son to be a great public speaker as well as a great passer.

• JD and Joe's presence also led to one of the episode's funniest moments, as a frustrated Matt simply closes the door in their faces when they show up to offer condolences on behalf of the Panthers.

• I don't want to constantly be making "Wire" references just because Michael B. Jordan has now had supporting roles on two of my all-time favorite dramas, but it's hard to look at Vince carrying his passed-out mom back into their apartment (like he's the parent and she's the child) and not see echoes of what little we knew about Wallace's relationship with his own junkie mom.

• Riggins' nightmare of accidentally having sex with Becky nearly came true, but he managed to stop it in time, driving the mortified girl to go on a fortuitously-timed beer run that finally gets things cooking between her and a shirtless Luke. It's about time, too, that Madison Burge starts having regular interactions with castmembers other than Taylor Kitsch.

• The editing on the pageant and wake sequences was odd, making it seem like they were going on simultaneously, with Riggins somehow teleporting across town as soon as Becky finished singing "Popular" so he could be in both places at once. I know that both wakes and pageants can be very long affairs, but the way the two sequences were cut together became a distraction when Tim was in one place and then suddenly in the other.

• Jess hasn't gotten a lot of screentime in the last few episodes, but she's quickly become the show's go-to person for reaction shots during Lions games. Jurnee Smollett does a really good job of conveying just how much Jess cares about the game and the team - and since we care about the team going in, it makes us like her even though she's a newbie who hasn't had a lot to do yet. Well-played, show.

• The song playing over the end of the funeral, and as Matt works his hands bloody with the shovel, is "Driveway" by Great Northern.

Finally, the good people at DirecTV who provide me with access to these episodes have asked me to remind you that you can catch new episodes of "Friday Night Lights" ever Wednesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on The 101 Network.

What did everybody else think?


ethan a. zimman said...

This was the most powerful episode of FNL in a while. It dealt with a loss that most people can relate to and also touched on the current state of world affairs in the Middle East.

FNL is one of only a handful of shows that has the raw power to be this affecting and totally genuine. It's really a pleasure to watch every week.

I think it will be interesting where they take Lyla's story arc by having her come back for the funeral.

Thanks again for an excellent post, just moments after the show has aired!

Rabble Rouser said...

Good ep. And now I know that the actual football is an afterthought in this show but I was wondering when if ever they were going to figure out that if you have two good rb's and not much else you need to have a run based offense (wildcat, option, double wing).

Kind of makes me feel like maybe Coach Taylor isn't that great of a football coach as he is motivator/ leader of young people.

Also does anyone else think that Becky looks alot like Tyra just with different hair?

LB said...

This episode just about killed me. I've always loved Matt Saracen and Zach Gilford. This episode was an excellent reminder of why. I won't lie; I cry easily at shows. But there is some distance or superficiality to it. Seeing someone cry catches on, I suppose, at times.

But watching this, it was a little different. You articulated it well; the actors do a great job of putting you in their place. Just amazing work.

NBC has made some bad, unforgivable decisions recently but whatever level of opportunity they're giving FNL is commendable.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame Coach for not knowing his student's name. When I was in high school, my math teacher (who is a Hall of Fame soccer coach) called me by my wrong first name for 4 years and I was too scared to correct him. As a long-time high school teacher, I can't remember all of my current or former students names (an amount into the thousands). When I was a student, I liked the fact that my teacher got part of my name right.

iffer said...

My closed caption had Taylor calling him "Lands" not Lance just a nickname for Landry

Anonymous said...

I love FNL, but it took me a long time to get on the band wagon. I grew up in small town TX, & I lived this life & I thought watching it on tv would be just be reliving bad memories. Then I watched it, realized I was wrong, & have seen every episode multiple times. But often I'm frustrated by the stuff the show gets wrong, not just for the sake of tv or moving along a story, but just wrong about how things in that life work.

I say this because this episode slayed me. There wasn't a false note. Perhaps a few quibbles (in real life "Dillon" every person in that town would have been at the funeral, but I realize FNL doesn't have Greys Anatomys budget). I know these people. It's astonishing that they could get these stories & emotions & actions so right w/every character on every level.

Zach Gilford was just astonishingly good. I can hardly think of an actor who wouldn't have chewed that story into an over the top frenzy and yet his raw emotion & physicality & grace...trying to mumble to the Taylors how he hates being rude while they tried to find ways to comfort him--I'm tearing up just thinking about it. And the other stories--Luke, Vince, Becki, all perfect glimpses into these lives that continue on around you even when it feels like the world should have stopped for this awful moment.

One last thing, I can't remember the last time I loved a tv moment as much as I loved Matt's "you're kidding" and slamming the door in the McCoys face. A funny & thoroughly satisfying moment of levity.

Anonymous said...

One more thing (sorry)--I love that this show gives it's departing cast such fantastic showcases. Scott Porter got his, Smash got his, Lyla & Tyra got theirs, now 7 is getting his. I have total faith that the show will do right by him with this exit. I also have some of my own theories on how they'll handle 33's exit, but I'll shut up now.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't blame Coach for not knowing his student's name. When I was in high school, my math teacher (who is a Hall of Fame soccer coach) called me by my wrong first name for 4 years and I was too scared to correct him.

But we established in episode two this year that Coach does know by now that his name is Landry. And given that the team only has 18 or 19 guys on it (as opposed to the massive roster of the Panthers), you can be sure Coach knows who each and every one of those kids are.

My closed caption had Taylor calling him "Lands" not Lance just a nickname for Landry

Closed-captioning is often inaccurate, especially on a show like this where so much of the dialogue is improvised and the captioner therefore doesn't have a script to go by. He very clearly said "Lance" as he has many times in the past, and I've never heard "Lands" as a nickname for Landry. (Then again, I've never known somebody with Tom Landry's last name as his first name.)

mj said...

When Coach first met Landry, he clearly didn't know what Landry's name was but suspected it was Lance. He then heard the players calling him Landry and Coach thought that was a nickname. In formal proceedings, Coach defers back to what he mistakenly believes is Landry's real name. The show has established many times over that the football players often have nicknames that may or may not bear a resemblance to their real names.

I don't watch all the shows that Alan watches but I do read many of his reviews. Episodes like this bring out the absolute best in an outstanding writer. Why? Because it is easy to tell in the writing that he felt an emotional connection to the show. Wonderful stuff.

This hour of tv was the best I have seen in 2009 anywhere. And I saw every episode, sometimes twice, of the Emmy Award winning Mad Men. Everything from the emotion of Matt to the reaction shots of Landry were stunning.

Mandy said...

What a great, great episode. Nothing shocking or off-the-wall, just real. I was a blubbering mess, and I don't think I've been that affected by TV show or movie in a really long time.

Unknown said...

What a great episode - Zach certainly deserves an emmy nomination out of it I think- it's a shame he probably won't get it as this is probably the best acting by a supporting actor we'll see all year.

a side note - in this weeks Tuesday Morning Quarterback on Greg Easterbrook does a short little timeline thing on FNL - funny and interesting I thought (it's about halfway down the article)

it's a testament to the acting and writing of the show for it to have so many continuity issues yet still be one of the best shows on television.

Joan said...

Not much else to add to everyone else's spot-on comments. I just kept getting blown away by how powerful this episode was. Among it all, the most perfect event was Eric's single line, "I'm walking you home." It made me realize how few lines he actually spoke in this episode, and how little that has to do with his actual presence. As others have noted, Eric didn't need to say anything at that point, he just needed to be there, and he knew that, so he was. Absolutely perfect.

Gilford definitely deserves an Emmy for this one.

Anonymous said...

I cried every time Matt was on screen. I'm afraid the show might not be the same once he's gone.

Thanks, Alan, for your great analysis. As always, I read your reviews right after I watch the show and it helps me understand/digest what I've just seen.

Anonymous said...

Wire nitpicking: I don't think Wallace's mother was a junky. She was an alcholic. "Mom used to put mad Bacardi in hers."

Brilliant, brilliant episode. It's time for Matt to leave Dillon, but damn will I miss him (and Zach Gilford) when he's gone.

Anonymous said...

So will FNL be affected by the Comcast/NBC deal? Despite not liking DirecTV the two season deal for FNL is already in place right?

Rebecca Jill said...

Someone needs to give Zach Gilford an Emmy now. Brilliant performance! Just brilliant!

Loved the comic relief of Billy's "Mayday"nickname for Matt with Tim saying in the background that at no time did they ever call Matt "Mayday."

And Luke had one of the best lines, too: "What's your name? J.D. McDick?" That was priceless, along with Matt's, "You're kidding," before slamming it in Papa and Boy McCoy's faces.

Is it just me or does it seem like Becky is the anti-Tyra? Has a mom who's more self-involved like Tyra, but instead of Tyra being Tyra like and stuck in that existence, Becky's all gung-ho about going to school and needing rides from whomever, esp. with Riggins? Now maybe she'll get them from Luke?

Loved shirtless Luke -- looking all hot with his sweet, nice personality to go along with it.

It also seems like Vince is the anti-Smash. He's living with his single mom, not in public housing, but in run-down apartments and has to take care of his mom, instead of having a Mama Smash to be all up in his face. Also, Smash definitely has been in football all his life, so he's got that "I'm going to the NFL" fire. Vince is just trying to figure out what football and being on a team is all about.

Luke seems kind of like the white boy version of Smash. It's interesting to see these new characters mirror off older ones, or at least that's how I see it.

Anonymous said...

Tremendous episode. I understand that its a contractual thing with actors/actresses, but I think that having Minka Kelly's name in the opening credits robbed us of one more "Wow" moment in the show.

PY said...

He then heard the players calling him Landry and Coach thought that was a nickname. In formal proceedings, Coach defers back to what he mistakenly believes is Landry's real name

I don't think this is true. I believe Alan has touched on this before, but in the episode where the team "quit" after the forfeit, Coach tells Mrs. Coach he needs to get "Landry" back on the team as a first step. I don't think he'd use a nickname in that case. The random "Lance" usage in this episode did feel a little forced and out of place, particularly given the context of the prayer.

And I'm in agreeance with everyone else here ... this was wonderful work by Zach Gilford.

Also, in regards to the RB competition, it feels like Vince is the featured back and is getting all of the big running plays over Luke (as evidenced by the player of the week award). That's going to make it tough for Luke to get the attention from the recruiters ... I wonder if this will become a bigger issue (again) over time.

Anonymous said...

Wow. That was amazing. I almost cried. The jubilation that the episode started with (Lions scoring touchdowns) all the way to the immense pain and sadness at the end of the episode (felt by Saracen and Julie). Saracen burying his father with his own bare hands, shovelling the dirt = cathartic, raw, powerful. Possibly the best episode of Friday Night Lights since the pilot. They should have used the speech from the pilot.

"Give all of us gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable. And we will all, at some point in our lives, fall. We will all fall".

Anonymous said...

This was one of the best episodes of the series, and I hope that means enough for Comcast not to screw up the deal for the last two seasons just because it involves DirecTV.

Adele said...

Just watching it now it's great to see Devon in the background of the funeral. SUre it's not necessary but of course she'd be there to support Julie and Landry. It was a nice touch.

Alan Sepinwall said...

So will FNL be affected by the Comcast/NBC deal? Despite not liking DirecTV the two season deal for FNL is already in place right?

Given that this season has already been produced, and that the NBC/Comcast deal will take a year for regulators to approve, and that everyone (including Jason Katims) has been working on the assumption that next season will be the last, the merger shouldn't affect anything - except maybe when NBC winds up airing season 5.

But the episodes will be made, and they'll air on The 101 Network, and then we'll see what kind of state NBC is in by January 2011.

I'm not concerned. The existence of this show, and the DirecTV arrangement, is far, far down on the list of things that new management will care about when it comes to fixing the mess that is NBC primetime.

Matthew said...

oh my lord.

TOUR DU FORCE (sp?) by Zach G. Knee-weakening.

either way, this episode was a 3-instance tear jerker, as follows:

Matt looking at the open casket, eyes welling up and simultaneously reddening:
Enter the mist.

Matt reaching the house, complains about carrots, begins to opine on the nature of a hate well, then proceeds to break down (literally):
We've got eye leakage! Moist cheeks here we come!

Matt gives his speech, says we all get to have birthdays:
Some lip stammering along with a tear per eye.

Epilogue: Matt gets up to shovel, throws his jacket off:

Wow. Felt it all, really. They went way more into it (especially with the music) than they had to besides showing him conflicted on the absentee dad.

Emily N. said...

I just have a few things to say regarding Zach Gilford's performance:

Amazing. Brilliant. Phenomenal. Heart-Wrenching. Emmy-Worthy. Perfect.

Anonymous said...

I remember Becky mentioning the pageant would last 3 days. So, I assumed the wake was the day after the talent show.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But they intercut scenes of Riggins watching the talent competition with Matt at the wake, and then suddenly Tim was also at the wake while Becky was still at the pageant.

I know sometimes mourners take visitors for days on end (in Judaism, it's called the shiva period and lasts about a week), but it was edited to seem like a single day for Matt.

Jeff Martin said...

Matt has, for a long time, been my favorite character on the show (with Coach a close second), and I am constantly amazed by Gilford's portrayal of him?

This episode? This episode needs to go to the awards committees. I'm not a stoic man by any means, but it's rare that I cry at television and this one had me bawling my eyes out. I'm still recovering.

brett said...

I'm not real knowledgeable at TV awards, but whatever possible awards this episode is eligible for, it should definitely win...what a great, heart-tugging episode.

I think it really solidified the fact that Matt Saracen is the best character in television right now. He has so much character depth, yet it never is forced, and everything he does seems so natural. Here in this episode we are shown some different sides of him, but they all make sense in context. Brilliant writing, really.

Also, some good music choices in this one. I thought "Driveway" by Great Northern was the perfect song to use during the funeral processions. FNL the movie did a perfect job with its music, and I'm glad the show has great tunes, too.

wjm said...

I'm late to the party (finally got to watch the ep this evening) but I gotta add my voice to the general agreement: Zach deserves and Emmy. Who do we send the petitions to? (Because I know it will take petitions to get the board to pay any attention to this show.)

On a different note...nice boots, Lyla. EXACTLY what I would wear to a frickin' funeral.

MM said...

One thing I want to add to the spot-on comments about this wonderful episode - Aimee Teagarden was terrific. I have not always been a fan of hers but her acting has really matured since the start of this show. She had a tough job to do in this episode and I think she really conveyed the helplessness and sadness that Julie felt. And she really brought the waterworks with the scene with her dad.

I've loved Gilford in this role since forever. My friends and I joke about how many times we say, "Oh Matt" per episode. Kudos to the writers for really giving him some tough, challenging material and letting him shine.

Unknown said...

It took some time for me to find this show. Basically, I had acquiesced to the notion that broadcast television had nothing left to offer in the drama department (but I'll keep watching 24 and Lost out of loyalty). I had to hear from about 20 different places that an NBC show centered around high school football was up there with anything on the cable networks...

Well 3 seasons of Netflix and 5 episodes of bootlegs (sorry my building won't let me put up a satellite and it's not on ITunes or any legal channel. Are they TRYING to make people not watch this show?) have shown me that when we rank the top shows of this decade, the best ever for TV drama, FNL needs to be included.

Now, I don't cry at movies or TV very often. Not a complete stoic, but not mush. Man oh man, I couldn't help it by the dinner table scene. No episode of any television show has ever brought the tears like this one. The drama was handled pitch-perfect. There weren't any big consolation speeches or forced moments. Every second felt like it was really happening. Alan nailed it.

If NBC wants to find an identity it should shuck Jay Leno and start FNL from the beginning at 10PM five days a week, promote the hell out of it, let it build momentum, and by the time people get to this episode people it will be a phenomenon.

Of course, that would never happen, but one can dream...

Chung King said...

I want to echo what MM said. I do think Aimee Teegarden is an underrated young actor (at least for her age), but especially in this episode, it's easy to overlook her work next to Zach Gilford's phenomenal job. She held her own and that's asking a lot.

erin said...

Well--I needed a good cry, and I got it. My goodness.

I can't do anything more than echo what people said about Zach, except to say that i wasn't sure he had that in him. That was amazing to watch, and i pretty much started bawling from the dinner scene on. Well played, show.

I am really interested in how they play this Vince character...and i like that he is kind of stuck in between two worlds, so to speak. I like the suspense of wondering if he's going to screw up or not and let down Coach Taylor, just because he doesn't know how to. I kept thinking he wasn't going to show up to the breakfast, and wasn't surprisd when he looked like a deer caught in headlights. And i thought it was an interesting parallel that he chose to learn the bad stuff from the car thief with angry necklace guy, thereby continuing to go down the wrong path, while Luke saw through JD and dumbass and decided enough was enough.

REALLY glad Riggins called the BEcky thing to a halt. I was going to be mad if the writers thought that was a good storyline.

Even with just a glance...he and Lyla still have chemistry!

If I think more about Saracen, i'll start crying again. Better to move on to something silly on a Sunday afternoon!

belinda said...

Matt Saracen breaks my heart *sigh*. I especially found his breakdown at the Taylor dinner table to be the most moving - just every movement of his eyes, his face, his hands, his body, everything in that scene was perfection, and I totally bawled my eyes out. Gilford is fantastic.

I'm still not sure why Lila was there - given it was Matt's father who died, I'd expect Smash - who was quite close to Matt - and/or at least his family to have been there at the funeral instead of Lila (hell, even Street or Tyla (who was close to Landry and Julie) had more of a relationship with Matt than Lila ever had). So seeing Lila there bothered me only because in the context of Matt's dad's funeral, it made absolutely no sense.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one confused about Riggins seemingly being at two places in one time (I suppose he could have been at the beginning of the pageant to support Becky, then left in the middle to go to the wake, and then Becky calls after the pageant was done knowing Riggins was at the wake instead of at the pageant; but it was definitely kinda weird.)

steph said...

it was the bloodied hands that got to me. :(

bravo zach gilford. now giving tyra a run for her money for most amazing exit.

Adam said...

In an episode that left me a blubbering mess, I took great comic relief in Billy Riggins T-shirt "Draft Beer, not People"

compain87 said...

Wow an utterly amazing episode... I think this episode ranks right up there for me (I just got to download it tonight). I really Enjoyed everything about this episode. I thought the episode was structured really well, they had the football game(*) at the beginning before we dealt with the stuff with "7".

(*) did anyone else notice Vince threw a bomb. I went back and watched it over and over like the zapruder film. Initially he threw it and it wasn't a spiral but then we cut to a wide shot and that thing was a nice tight spiral. I really hope they switch Vince to a full time option QB. Alan I know you were on the BS report (that's actually how I came to follow your blog), but did you listen to the sports guy interview Peter Berg for 30 for 30? They talked about the new team and players but I won't mention details since I don't wanna spoil anything. Alan, when you going back on the BS report?

Back to 7, after his confession on the field, seeing the casket, blowup/apology about carrots at the Taylor's, and Eric Walking him home I kept wanting someone to tell him something to make his pain go away because watching Saracen have to carry the burden of burying his father was too much. I couldn't imagine what to tell him in any of those moments. That is why I love this show though, In the end not even Coach Taylor gave him a pep talk or said anything for that matter because really you can't say anything.

Mario said...

I´m late to the party, but i just wanted to say that i just watched the episode and got goose bumps all over ...

If Zach Gilford doesn´t get a couple real good roles in his career after FNL then sth is wrong. Seriously, one of the most amazing performances i´ve ever seen in a series, much less a series that´s not expected to be that deep (it is and allways has been, but tell that to the general public ...) , not just this episode but over 4 seasons.